Preparing Fresh Pumpkin
I myself just love it when I find a new hint or tip that I have never seen or heard of.
I have found that the best pumpkins to use are the Heritage Pumpkins as they are the very sweetest. If you can't find a Heritage Pumpkin at the farmers market, the small ones tend to be very sweet. If you don't have pumpkin available you can use Hubbard Squash instead.
**Did you know that most of your canned pumpkin in the store is really Hubbard Squash?
How to Make Preparing Fresh Pumpkin
- BOILING METHOD:
Clean and peel pumpkin or squash.
Discard seeds and stringy material from inside.
Cut into small pieces and boil like potatoes until the pumpkin/squash is soft.
Strain after cooking.
Puree pumpkin in a blender.
(Can be frozen)
- BAKING METHOD #1:
Cut an access hole of about 3-4 inch radius around the stem.
Remove this piece, scoop out seeds and stringy material from the inside and discard.
Place cleaned pumpkin/squash on a roasting pan or other oven-ready pan with deep sides.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until pumpkin/squash appears to be collapsing and softening.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Scoop out the meat with a large spoon.
Puree pumpkin/squash meat in a food processor.
**NOTE: this method is much easier than the boiling method above. It goes significantly faster and leaves a fairly dry puree that can be used directly without further concentration. The resulting puree is also more healthy and flavorful since the flavor wasn't boiled out with the vitamins.
- BAKING METHOD #2: (my preferred method)
NOTE: This is probably overall the best and fastest way to do it!
Slice pumpkin/squash in half.
Remove all seeds and string.
Place both halves on a cookie sheet and place in a 425 degree oven.
Cook for about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool to around room temperature.
Scoop out the pumpkin/squash meat with an ice cream scoop.
It will be stringy.
Chop it up with a Braun hand mixer until it's reasonably chopped.
You can't get all the stringiness out with the hand mixer, so when it's processed with the hand mixer, put the result in a food processor and puree it for about 1-2 minutes until all the stringiness is chopped away.
- **NOTE: Use any of these methods in your recipes calling for pumpkin or freeze it in 1-2 cup amounts until needed.